The Top 10 Best BCBA Schools in California 2022

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As the demand for behavioral therapists grows, schools are offering more options to help students get into BCBA programs. Check out who made our top 10 list and which has been on since last year.

The “top Applied Behavior Analysis graduate programs” is a list of the top 10 best BCBA schools in California. These schools are ranked by their tuition, acceptance rate, and average GPA.

California has the largest national need for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) in 2020, according to a survey by Burning Glass Technologies. Between 2019 and 2020, there will be a 17% rise in demand for BCBA/BCBA-D therapists, which has been rising gradually over the last ten years. 

Future behavior analysts can follow a streamlined path to fulfill the coursework requirements for this highly sought-after certification by enrolling in master’s education programs that offer the Verified Course Sequence, which has been approved by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Students who complete BCBA degrees are qualified to work in fields like special education or human services. The top BCBA programs in California are listed below.

These are California’s top 10 ABA programs, according to our rating. These Board Certified Behavior Analyst graduate education programs are regionally recognized and provide the ABAI approved course sequence that satisfies the classroom criteria set out by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) for taking the Board Certified Behavior Analyst test. We considered both on-campus and online courses that were recognized by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Here is how we arrived at this rating.

ratio of students to faculty

  • less than 12:1 = 3 Points
  • 13 to 19:1 equals 2 points.
  • More than 20:1 equals one point

average cost of graduate school

  • 3 points for yearly income under $13,000
  • $20,000 to $13,000 annually = 2 Points
  • Over $20,000 annually = 1 point

% of first-time applicants who pass the BCBA exam

  • 25% or less, or N/A, 1 point (Schools with a N/A have less than six first-time applicants or are operating for the first time in their first four years.)
  • 3 points from 26% to 75%
  • more than 75% minus 5%

California’s Fresno Pacific University, ranked number 10,

Special Education Master’s Degree with Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Fresno Pacific Masters of Arts in Special Education with Board Certified Behavioral Analyst

Website Graduate student tuition on average is $14,940 per year. 13:1 of first-time candidates passing the BCBA exam. Student to faculty ratio. Less than six new candidates entered the race this year. 5 points

One of California’s top BCBA institutions is Fresno Pacific University. They provide a top-notch BCBA and Master of Arts in Special Education. Along with 18 special education units and 28 BCBA units, students finish 14 core units. Courses available include:

  • Spectrum disorders in autism
  • Establishing the Bases for Working with Students with Emotional Disturbance Disorders
  • Compare and Develop

Verified course sequence classes are provided in a hybrid learning environment, on-campus, and online. Fall, spring, and summer semesters all welcome new students. A BA/BS degree from an authorized institution is required, and candidates must also submit three letters of recommendation.

Riverside, California’s University of California is ranked ninth.

M.Ed. program in applied behavior analysis

UC Riverside M.Ed. program in applied behavior analysis

Website average graduate student tuition is $26,544 for out-of-state students and $11,442 for in-state students. 22:1 of first-time candidates passing the BCBA exam. Student to faculty ratio. Less than six new candidates entered the race this year. 5 points

Students may become BCBAs by completing the University of California Riverside’s excellent ABA program. The course offers students the top-notch training and practical work experience they need for a successful career. Students just need four quarters to finish their degree. courses that are needed include:

  • Interventions for Behavior in Schools
  • Applied behavior analysis ethics
  • Intervention with social, emotional, or emotional issues

Students may be given a fieldwork placement via the curriculum or may locate one on their own. Each student completes a portfolio project that compiles all the practical assignments they have to complete for their degree.

La Jolla, California’s National University is ranked eighth.

degree in applied behavior analysis master of science

National University MS in <a href='https://hereonthespectrum.com/how-can-applied-behavior-analysts-help-adults-with-autism/' data-lazy-src=

Website Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,680 for out-of-state students and $7,176 for in-state students. 22:1% of students to faculty, and 64% of first-time candidates passed the BCBA exam. 7 points

A distinctive MS in Psychology with a focus on marriage and family therapy and a behavior analysis program track is offered at Stanislaus State. Students will exercise critical thinking while delivering therapeutic work that is grounded in research and empirically supported. The CBBA has approved the coursework, and it satisfies the academic criteria for candidates to sit for BCBA certification. Students are carefully mentored by faculty members who assist them in developing their professional skills. Students who complete the program are well-prepared to pursue rewarding professions in behavior analysis as BCBAs and marriage and family therapists.

Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, is ranked sixth.

degree in Applied Behavior Analysis master of science


Website Graduate Student Tuition on Average: $36,200 Per Year 13:1% of students to faculty, and 84% of first-time candidates passed the BCBA exam. 8 points

A top-quality MS in applied behavior analysis is offered by the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University, enabling students to deal with a range of people who have behavioral difficulties. The curriculum adheres to the practitioner-scholar paradigm of training, which combines in-depth theoretical instruction with practical experience. Students who are employed in an ABA-based context may complete the necessary field experience hours there. In order to accommodate working professionals, courses are given in the evenings. The autumn, spring, and summer quarters all accept new students. Students have barely 18 months to finish their degrees.

Pepperdine also offers an online degree in applied behavior analysis, master of science.  This fully online education program prepares students for BCBA certification.  Online courses and in-person field experiences allow students to gain the skills needed to work with individuals diagnosed with a variety of impairments including:

  • autism
  • developmental alterations
  • trauma to the brain

Students will examine subjects like experimental design and professional behavior using a cutting-edge online learning environment. Pepperdine University’s top-ranked online ABA program is committed to the training of qualified behavior analyzers.  

Los Angeles, California’s University of Southern California, ranked fifth.

degree in applied behavior analysis, master of science

USC degree in applied behavior analysis, master of science

Website Graduate student tuition on average is $47,880 per year. The ratio of students to faculty is 9:1, and 86% of first-time candidates succeed on the BCBA exam. 9 points

One of the best master’s education programs in applied behavior analysis in California is offered by USC Dornsife. The course trains scientists and ABA practitioners who improve the lives of people who might need ABA services. The USC ABA program consists of 1,500–2,000 clock hours of fieldwork and 315 teaching hours of ABA courses. Courses available include:

  • Behavior Modifications
  • Children’s Cognitive Development
  • Behavior analysts’ code of conduct

Practicum sites are hand-picked for the program and give students a wide variety of experience working with children with autism and other developmental alterations. Sites include reputable organizations like Autism Behavior Intervention and the Center for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis. Full-time students can complete their degree in two years.

San Diego State University, in San Diego, California, is ranked fourth.

M.A. with a focus on autism

SDS University M.A. with a focus on autism

Website Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,680 for out-of-state students and $7,176 for in-state students. 100% of first-time candidates passing the BCBA exam, student-to-faculty ratio: 27:1% 9 points

One of California’s most reasonably priced master’s degrees in applied behavior analysis is provided at San Diego State University. Their autism-focused master’s degree in ABA. The thorough program contains both the Clear coursework for the Extensive Support Needs and Early Childhood certifications in the state of California as well as the authorized course sequence required to sit for the BCBA test. Courses available include:

  • Norms and Law
  • Aspects of Autism
  • Behavioral Supports and Strategies

In under two years, students finish the program after moving through it as a cohort. Only full-time students are eligible for the program.

Sacramento, California is home to the third-ranked California State University.

Master’s Degree Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

Sacramento State MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

Website Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,680 for out-of-state students and $7,176 for in-state students. 26:1 student-to-faculty ratio of first-time applicants who passed the BCBA exam 9 points

A top-notch MS in ABA with research and clinical possibilities is offered at Sacramento State’s College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. One of the state’s most affordable master’s programs in BCBA is offered here. A crucial element of the curriculum is clinical training. Under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, students may enhance their abilities via a variety of paid internship and employment options. Courses available include:

  • Evaluation and treatment of behavioral issues
  • Highly developed applied behavior analysis
  • Employer-Applied Behavior Analysis

Graduates are qualified to work as behavior analyzers in a range of organizations, such as hospitals and schools. Students wishing to pursue PhD research in ABA have a solid basis for their studies thanks to the curriculum.

Cal State University is ranked second. Northridge – California’s Northridge

Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s

california-state-university-northridge Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Master's

Website Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,680 for out-of-state students and $7,176 for in-state students. 28:1% of first-time candidates passed the BCBA exam, which is the student-to-faculty ratio. 9 points

Tseng College at California State University offers one of the top BCBA programs in the state. Their two-year premier MS program in applied behavior analysis emphasizes the practical application of behavioral theory. Doctoral-level professors who act as mentors for the duration of the program teach the courses. Courses available include:

  • Procedures for Changing Behavior and Supporting Systems
  • Applied behavior analysis assessment
  • Management of Organizational Behavior

Students have access to both on-campus and off-campus practicum alternatives to help them complete the necessary fieldwork before taking the behavior analyst test. In-depth instructor assistance is advantageous to students. The cohort structure enables students to go through the program side by side, supporting one another and developing a network of professional peers.

Cal State Fresno, in Fresno, California, is ranked first.

The Psychology — Applied Behavior Analysis Master of Arts (M.A.) Option

Fresno State The Psychology — Applied Behavior Analysis Master of Arts (M.A.) Option

Website Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,680 for out-of-state students and $7,176 for in-state students. 23:1 student-to-faculty ratio of first-time applicants who passed the BCBA exam 9 points

One of California’s top master’s education programs in behavior analysis is provided by Fresno State’s psychology department. Students will finish their academic work, take part in research, and participate in a controlled field experience. Core courses consist of:

  • Community Support and Interventions
  • Verbal Expression
  • Human Behavior and Advanced Learning

Students finish a thesis that complies with APA publishing standards and industry norms for academic research. Students studying behavior analysis full-time may get their degree in only two years.

Programs for ABA Help Staff

How much can a Board Certified Behavior Analyst expect to make?


The average base compensation for a BCBA is $65,963 per year, according to statistics from payscale.com. While the highest paid behavior analysts earn over $80,000 annually, the bottom 10% of workers earn less than $51,000. Those who are just starting out in the field get the lowest pay. With fewer than four years of experience, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst may anticipate earning around $64,000 per year. Analysts with between 10 and 19 years of experience are paid the most.

The abilities you bring to the table might have an impact on your salary. If a board certified behavior analyst has expertise or education in the following areas, their salary may increase:

  • Autism spectrum condition
  • clinical oversight
  • Management and leadership
  • program creation

California ABA master’s degree graduates may anticipate earning 17.9% more than the national average while working in the San Diego region. The average salary in the Los Angeles region is 9.7% higher than the national average. 

Exist any ABA online courses?


For students who need the courses that the Behavior Analyst Certification Board has authorized in order to become behavior analysts, there are several excellent ABA online programs available. Future behavioral analysts may work in a range of therapeutic and educational settings thanks to these curricula. Students who require the flexibility of online learning but are unable to attend regular campus classes can choose an ABA degree program online. 

What additional ABA courses are offered by the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board?


For all professional levels, there are several kinds of ABA programs that use applied behavior analysis. The Registered Behavior Technician is one of the most well-liked (RBT). Professional behavior analysts with a high school education and 40 clock hours of training are known as Registered Behavior Technicians. The instruction includes topics like:

  • behavior analysis
  • reporting and archiving
  • decrease of behavior
  • skill development

A wonderful option for professionals dealing with people who exhibit problematic behavior is this ABA program certificate, which includes:

  • Self-destructive habits
  • hostile shouting
  • repeating patterns

In order for students to complete the Verified Course Sequence required to take the BCaBA or Board Certified Behavior Analyst BCBA test, colleges and institutions offer ABA certificate programs. A behavior analyst with a bachelor’s degree has a BCaBA certification. An ABA certificate program might be an add-on certification inside a school like educational psychology or it can be a component of a behavior analysis degree.

Programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees are accredited by the ABAI. These courses are up to the ABAI’s high criteria for thoroughness, accuracy, and quality. They assess:

  • program objective
  • curriculum
  • outcome evaluation
  • administration
  • resources
  • public announcement
  • education programs

More Interesting Rankings:

The “national university aba masters” is a top 10 list of the best BCBA schools in California. The list includes University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and UCLA.

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